May 21st was a lovely spring day, the kind we’ve been waiting all winter to see. The sun was shining and there was enough wind to start the race on time. Eight beautiful classic wooden boats proceeded from Deer Harbor on Orcas Island, south through the Wasp Islands, around the West end of Yellow Island, around the north end of McConnell Island and the south end of Reef Island, and back to the start/finish line in Deer Harbor. There was a big calm spot west of Yellow Island which temporarily stopped all competitors but Challenge, the 1930’s 6-meter champion, who got through there before the calm set in. Being fast has big advantages sometimes. The rest of us were stuck there in the ebb current until it eased, and the north wind became stronger. Eventually, all but two boats were able to finish, well within the five-hour time limit. Another tricky calm spot was southeast of Reef Island, in the lee of the island. Those boats which were able to go around that spot instead of heading straight for the line did better. Knowing when to take down spinnakers as the wind became more northerly was important.
The six finishers (on corrected time, details below) were:
Nutmeg, the International One Design, in 6th.
Boren, the Cheoy Lee Lion, in 5th.
Windsong, 36’ yawl from Anacortes, in 4th.
Vito Dumas, Campos cutter from Port Townsend, in 3rd.
Aura, Garden/Blanchard 33, in 2nd.
Challenge, the 6-meter, in 1st place.
Challenge always does well here, as befits a true race boat, but was especially dominant today, finishing one hour and 46 minutes ahead of the next boat. She got the big prize, a blue burgee with the WBS logo. Vito Dumas and Aura had a splendid battle. Aura finished 51 seconds behind Vito Dumas, but her rating enabled her to finish 48 seconds ahead on corrected time and get the coveted red second place burgee, to the crew’s delight. Vito Dumas got the white burgee for third place to add to her collection.
WBS president Mike Douglas donated very nice ceramic plates for the top three finishers, as well as for the perseverance award which went to Nymph of Lorne from Friday Harbor, who had engine trouble.
The beautiful yawl Bittersweet graced our racecourse today but was unable to finish. We hope to see her again.
Despite the sometimes very light wind, and a low turnout compared to last year, we all had a great time. The next Deer Harbor Wooden Boat Race is on September 6th of this year.
Some photos taken before, during, and after the race: